Last year, Tiona Rodriguez and Francis Estevez, both 17, were stopped for suspected shoplifting and a security guard found the baby’s body inside a bag. After questioning, Rodriguez told police officers that she had suffered a miscarriage the day before and did not know what to do.
Reports at the time indicated the dead newborn child found in her Victoria’s Secret bag was born alive and then likely asphyxiated to death. An autopsy done on the infant showed the baby was born alive at full term and it revealed that Rodriguez’s baby boy was actually born alive at full term and could have died of asphyxiation.
Now, the death of the baby boy has been ruled a homicide by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Tuesday – months after his October, 2013 passing. The child, who hasn’t been identified, died as a result of homicidal asphyxia, a spokeswoman said and she added that he was alive for less than a day.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment to the New York Daily News on whether Rodriguez will now face murder charges. The teen, who has a 2-year-old son, reportedly said Tuesday that she had ‘no idea’ about the homicide ruling.
Officials also found hundreds of dollars worth of stolen goods inside the bags and then a security guard noticed there was a strong odor inside and found a tiny body under the loot. Rodriguez told officers that she had suffered a miscarriage the day before and did not know what to do, so had stashed the baby in the bag.
The London Daily Mail provides additional reporting:
Homicide prosecutors had been probing the case since the teen was arrested. She wasn’t initially charged over the macabre find.
The then-17-year-old, was released without bail after she pleaded not guilty to petty larceny and possession of stolen property charges.
However at the time, authorities said they couldn’t bring charges over the dead baby until forensic tests determined exactly how the full-term newborn died.
Preliminary reports from detectives suggested the fetus was born alive and may have been asphyxiated.
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‘I don’t want to ignore the elephant in the room, but we are only arraigning the shoplifts,’ Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman told the court at the October hearing, according to New York Daily News.
The court released Rodriguez’ friend Francis Estevez without bail and soon after more than a dozen uniformed police officers and detectives had descended on her Queens home with a crime scene unit truck, a neighbor said.